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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Speaks at Groundbreaking
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Speaks at Groundbreaking

New UNLV Transit Center ‘Step In the Right Direction’

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Though the Runnin’ Rebels’ season ended two weeks ago, the spirit of March Madness was alive and well as UNLV cheerleaders and Hey Reb! helped the Regional Transportation Commission announce the groundbreaking for a new transit center on the corner of Maryland Parkway and University Road.

Congresswoman Dina Titus and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were two of the keynote speakers for the event, as men and women dressed in mostly business attire, filled the bleachers to hear them speak about the new transit station.

“A project like this will connect all parts of the valley,” Titus said. “I think this is kind of the beginning of the whole development of Maryland Parkway. We’re going to turn this into an exciting area to come and learn.”

The 6,460-square-foot facility is scheduled to open in August with the intent of making transportation easier for UNLV students and other residents around campus.

According to RTC, the project will cost $3.4 million with 80 percent of it being federally funded.

“Government is the wheel that makes our society progress,” Reid said. “There’s no better example of that then why we are here today.”

The red carpet was rolled out for the groundbreaking, complete with popcorn, thunder sticks and a confetti machine. The symbolic aura that basketball has over UNLV played an important role in the initiation of the project that is trying to improve connectivity to public transit at the university.

“This project epitomizes the RTC’s commitment to community partnerships,” said RTC General Manager Tina Quigley. “Having the ability to work with UNLV on a project that will encourage the use of public transit to and from the campus and hopefully, alleviate some of the area’s parking needs, is something we are incredibly passionate about at the RTC.”

Quigley said RTC plans on working with UNLV on a pilot program called “U-Pass.” The program will offer a 50 percent discount on monthly and semester transit passes to students and faculty members.

“It is important as our university plans for its next decade of growth that we look for alternative ways for students, faculty, staff and visitors to access our campus,” said UNLV President Neal Smatresk. “Developing a good, strong rapid transit system connected to a university just has to be a winner.”

According to Smatresk, UNLV has more non-residential and international students than the rest of the colleges in Nevada combined. He said he hopes the new transit system will engage students to take advantage of the alternative to parking on campus and accessing the rest of the community.

“I love it because it means that UNLV is doing what it can as a community partner to really promote a more sustainable, urban environment,” Smatresk said. “A good mass transport system would revolutionize Las Vegas. This is a step in the right direction. It’s a small step, but a significant one.”

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